Posted on October 27 2020
Junkers is a German brand that produces affordable quartz and mechanical watches. Their collections tend to be focused on designs that reference the previous Junkers company’s involvement with aviation and the Bauhaus art movement.
They have been inspired by an interesting backstory and this guide will take you through that history before bringing you up to date with the brand. I then present my favourite Junkers models.
The History of Junkers Watches
Central to the story of this brand's creation is Hugo Junkers. Born in the mid-1880s he became a significant name in German aviation history. Having studied in Berlin, he then worked in Dessau where he was involved in the research and development of gas engines.
He moved into aircraft design and was very influential in the period between the two world wars. His company had a number of world firsts - the first practical all-metal aircraft, the first all-metal passenger aircraft and the first aircraft to complete a heavier-than-air east-to-west crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
The aircraft names - J1, F13, G38 and Ju 52 may already be familiar from the Junkers watch collections.
Hugo Junkers was placed under house arrest and died in 1935 - the German state took control of his business and produced some very successful planes for the Luftwaffe during WWII.
Hugo Junkers and the Bauhaus Art Movement
Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 Bauhaus was an influential and revolutionary German art school. Initially based in Weimar the school aimed to bring together the different disciplines of architecture, design and art to produce what they referred to as a 'total work of art'. The word Bauhaus means literally “construction house”, or “School of building”.
The school's influences were varied, from the post-revolutionary Russian 'constructivism' to William Morris' idea of the marriage of artistic design and functionality. Speaking of art Morris said that it “should meet the needs of society and that there should be no distinction between form and function.” Teachers at the school included renowned artists Wassily Kandinski (see Raketa’s Kandinski influenced watch here) and Paul Klee.
The Bauhaus school moved to Dessau in 1925 - the same city that housed Junker’s factories. He was an early advocate of the stylel and worked closely with the artists there. Some early Bauhaus furniture was built in his factory for example.
It was a two-way process as Junkers engineers aided the artists and Junkers incorporated Bauhaus design into aircraft cockpits and the like. More about Bauhaus watches.
There is a break here, between Hugo Junkers and Junkers watches. The watch company isn’t a continuation of the Junkers aviation company. Instead, it’s a new company with the rights to use Junkers name and logo.
The watch line can be said to be inspired by Hugo Junkers - specifically the company during his lifetime. There’s no attempt to recreate designs from the Nazi era, a period when the Junkers company was state-controlled.
Where are Junkers Watches Made?
This gets a little complicated.
The Junkers brand was built up by a company called POINTtec. They designed, produced and marketed the Junkers watches for a couple of decades - under agreement with the Junkers family. They’ve now re-branded that business as Iron Annie - based on the nick-name of a Junkers plane.
Pointec is Germany’s biggest watch manufacturer, producing hundreds of thousands of watches each year. They also make Zepplin watches that I’ve featured a few times - more about German watches here.
In the meantime, there’s a new version of Junkers.
This new watch brand has been created by the family and has Charlotte Junkers at its head. She’s the great-granddaughter of Hugo Junkers.
The current watches are also made in Germany, with the website stating “Every single one of our watches is meticulously assembled by hand in Germany.”
The watches use a range of movements, including Swiss automatic and quartz movements.
The Best Junkers Watches
Here is a selection of my favourite watches by the brand. I’ve picked my preferred designs - the ones that best represent the Bauhaus and Aviation history associated with the Junkers name. I’ve not worried too much as to whether the models were produced before or after the Junkers family took control of the brand.
This watch has a little more going on than some other Bauhaus designs, including a sub-dial for the second hand. It makes the watch more interesting and attractive, particularly with the silver dial with gold accents.
The numbers, logo and markers are all small and neat. With a thin depth of 9mm, the watch has quite a refined appearance. It’s slim, subtle and, to a degree, understated. For me, this is what I want out of a Bauhaus watch.
It also powered by a hand-winding mechanical movement. This retains some of the authenticity in a watch clearly designed to have a vintage appeal.
Junkers Bauhaus 6030-5
It’s probably where the German watch industry is strongest. The Bauhaus designs of Nomos and the aviation watches of Sinn, Stowa and others.
Rather than opt for a black Flieger design, I thought I’d highlight this white dial variation. The white and blue colouring really works for me. It’s a GMT model, so we also get the GMT hand with a touch of red.
Despite this colouring, the look and feel is that of a tool watch. It still appears functional, and with a 42mm case, it’s a bigger watch than the Bauhaus. It’s also a fraction of the price of the Bauhaus, so this time we have a quartz movement.
As with a number of watches in the Junkers collection, it prominently features the triangular logo on the dial.
Junkers G-38 6946-3
This model from the Dessau 1926 Flatline collection, however, has more of a vintage pilots watch aesthetic. It has bold, vintage numerals and a sub-dial for the seconds. Like the previous model, this is quartz powered. In keeping with the vintage ethos, it comes in at just under 40mm.
Again, the bold Junkers logo is featured on the dial and there’s a date window at 3 o’clock - with a little red marker to help you pinpoint it.
The overall effect is that of a classic vintage piece. Ideally, I’d have preferred this to be mechanical, but the quartz movement has kept it quite affordable.
Junkers Dessau 1926 Flatline 63341
It’s a slightly unusual design, and with other text off to one side too, it’s quite eye-catching. I don’t normally like gold coloured watches, but on this model, the Rose Gold works well.
The 40mm case houses a Swiss-made Sellita automatic movement and there’s a sapphire crystal. Other than the date, it’s a relatively straight-forward piece that reminds me a little of an aircraft instrument dial - so it has the aviation influence, just subtly so.
In terms of its place in the Junkers range, it’s priced around the middle. More than the quartz models, but not as high as the opening Bauhaus model.
Junkers Eisvogel F13 6756-4
The Junkers G38 is a beauty. It has a silver dial, with ornate white hands. The numerals are pale green and the whole piece harks back to an earlier era. Albeit, with a modern quartz movement.
The Junkers G38 was a transport plane that flew from the late 1920s onwards and the watch, to a degree, recreates that look. The plane was covered by aluminium, and the watch dial seems to be a gentle reminder.
The sub-dial is quite noticeable and displays the second time - set by the additional crown. It’s a bold design that Junkers does well.
Junkers G38 69404
So it’s not in any way an Omega homage, but it shares that same smart tool watch vibe. I really like it, but again, would have preferred an automatic movement.
At 42mm, it’s around the correct size for a dressier type of watch, and with a 10mm depth, it’s fine to wear with a shirt. It feels like a bit of a departure from the other watches I’ve highlighted, but that isn’t a negative.
There are a couple of colour variations - my choice would be to go for the classic black dial.
Junkers Professor 9320202
It’s part of a series of higher-spec watches that were released to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Junkers birth - it notes on the chapter ring that it is a Special Edition.
It’s a tough looking watch that has s 15mm thick case. This houses an ETA movement, quite an improvement on the last model’s quartz engine. Of course, it’s higher priced too.
It has touches of a typical Germain aviator watch, in the hands and dial for example. But the crown isn’t over-sized and the stainless steel bracelet smartens it up. At the risk of calling everything a tool watch - that’s what I see here. An aviation influenced tool watch.
It’s a good watch to finish the list with. A watch that celebrates the brand’s beginnings in style.
Junkers Hugo 6650-M2
ConclusionJunkers have gone through a few changes recently - arguably they are a completely new business to the Junkers of a few years ago. But the range of watches continues in the same vein. Their line-up is still dominated by German heritage watches. Bauhaus and Aviation styles being the most notable.
It’s always good to see a nice spread of watch specs and price-points from a brand. In this case, there are cheaper quartz models through to ETA powered limited edition models. Of particular interest to me are the models most associated with Hugo Junkers early achievements. The models that celebrate the early era of aviation.
How do Junkers compare to Zeppelin, Junghans, Iron Annie and other affordable German brands?
Let me know below.